We’re doing a new series at Crosspoint this week. It’s about sex.
I suspected that talking about sex would be a bit of a divisive thing. Some people blush. Others giggle with glee. Some have even responded with disgust and anger. There are many who applaud what we’re talking about. Still, others are curious.
Talking about sex is a difficult task in the church. And really, it shouldn’t be. What I’ve learned over the past couple of weeks is that, even though this is 2012, five decades after the beginning of the Sexual Revolution, we’re still a pretty sexually repressed culture – both inside and outside of the church.
What do I mean by sexual repression? I’m using the term loosely, not in the strict Freudian sense. I mean this idea that sex is dirty, wrong, taboo, something we don’t talk about. Sadly, one of the greatest contributors to sexual repression in our culture has been the church. I wish I had time to trace the historic timeline of this idea – it goes all the way back to Plato, then evolved into Stoicism and Epicureanism, and then affected the theology of the early church fathers. The essential understanding was that the body was evil, the spirit was good. Anything to do with the body and it’s passions (like sex) was to be shunned, stamped out, avoided. So sex became a necessary evil, a means to procreation, but not to be enjoyed or celebrated. The idea took root and found its way into the DNA of the church. Since our Western culture was founded largely on Christian principles, the idea took root there also. Then entered the Sexual Revolution as a response to this repression.
Now, I’m not waving a flag for the Sexual Revolution. But I understand why it happened – and in some ways it has brought a correction to some of our flawed thinking about sex. On the other hand, this reaction against sexual stoicism has swung so far that we are again off balance as a culture. It’s a swing – and a miss. Now we’ve replaced sexual repression with sexual expression. We’ve traded self-control for license. And the repercussions are endless. Who would have thought fifty years ago that we’d have to create a term called “sexual addiction”? Who would have suspected it would be so rampant? And what has happened to us that human trafficking and child molestation are so prevalent?
I’m not saying we need more sexual repression. But what about sexual suppression?
There are many of us who are still figuring out what to do about the topic of sex in church. You think it’s awkward for you? I’m the one who has to talk about it! I’ll be putting on my best face, but please understand…I’ll be blushing on the inside. Because my gut reaction tells me there’s something wrong about talking about sex openly and freely in the church. And I know I’m not alone. I’ve seen hard-nosed blue collar workers, who could swear the paint off a snowmobile, stare at their shoes when I tell them we’re talking about sex on Sunday.
Why is it so difficult to talk about sex in church? It shouldn’t be.
Because the Bible has a lot to say about sex. In fact, it celebrates sex. Sex is God’s idea…and it’s a good idea. You were designed for sex. Sex is a source of pleasure and not just for procreation. In fact, it’s (*gasp*) an avenue to worship God. Yet, sex is not cheap or casual, but priceless and beautiful, the height of human intimacy. It’s something that was designed to be fully experienced between a man and a woman – two trusting partners who give up their independence and embrace life-long interdependence together. Sex is a good idea.
So we’re going to talk about sex. Because we believe God rolls that way.
I’m already blushing on the inside.